The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Persecuted Under Hate Crime Legislation

In October Philadelphia hosted a gay parade called Outfest.

Eleven people from a Christian group called Repent America also came to the parade. They didn't stay long however, they were arrested and hauled away.

The crime? Carrying banners with bibical text on them and shouting Christian beliefs through a bullhorn. They were rapidly surrounded by a group of hostile parade goers calling themselves Pink Angels. The Pink Angels attempted to shout down the Christian eleven, using obsence language along with it, blowing whistles in the ears of the eleven and surrounded them with about 500 people. The confrontational approach of the Pink Angels however was stopped by the arrest of the eleven Christians.

Any totalitarian Despot would be so very proud!

The charges were: criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct, and obstructing highways.

Ethnic intimidation? Since when did gay become an ethnic group?

The ethnic intimidation charge was apparently made available through Pennsylvania's Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism Act-Pennsylvania's hate crime legislation, with the newest victim catagory added of sexual orientation. Shades of Sweden appear.

Instruments of crime? Are banners something you can use in a crime spree? Perhaps it was the bullhorns, I suppose one could smash another person with it.

Ten of the eleven spent 21 hours in jail, the last person spent 13 hours in juvenile detention because she is 17 years old.

None of the Pink Angels were either cited or arrested.

In December a court hearing was held on the charges. Six of the adults had charges dropped. The teenager did not have the charges dropped.

The four men charged are Michael Marcavage, Mark Diener, James Cruse, and Dennis Green. The lone teenage girl charged is Lauren Murch.

By all appearances each of the individuals charged are committed to vocal street ministry. Lauren's father founded an Operation Rescue group, had all of his nine children born at home and schooled at home. Each are more extreme in expressing their beliefs then I am by far. From my personal standpoint I would be uncomfortable with the way they express their personal and religious beliefs. That said, they did not check their citizenship rights at the door because of them.

Fanny Price, an organizer of the event stated "We have a right to a party."

In my world if you choose to have a party on the street then you also have to abide by the same Constitution that allows you to have your "party". And that means you have to put up with people shouting bibical text and calling you to repent what they believe is immoral and unGodly behavior. If you don't wish to do that, then have your party at a private location, paid for with the money of those who intend on attending. As it is a public "party" is paid for by the taxpayer, if nothing else then by paying for the police that have to come out for these types of events.

A right of public gatherings of like minded people does not give you a right to be "protected" against speech you do not wish to hear. I recall a case of many years ago when the ACLU went to court to ensure a group of Nazi's in full regalia were allowed to march in a Jewish neighborhood. But is the ACLU protecting the rights of these Christians to be loud and present at a gay event? NO. Instead the remaining people charged are being represented by the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.

At this point those charged face up to 47 years in Prison.

Someone claiming to be a member of the ACLU left this message on the Repent America Website, whose president is Michael Marcavage, per WorldNetDaily.

"As a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a Unitarian-Universalist, I am committed to your suffering the maximum penalty the law will give you. And I will take particular delight knowing your families and loved ones will suffer, too.
"You know my address and my phone if you cowardly bottom-feeders want to come out to where I live and settle this. Bring your god with you. You will need all the help you can get."

So much for the hallowed tolerance the liberal left goes on about. And in that vein, the Prosecutor of the case, Charles Ehrlich, characterized the defendents as hateful during the preliminary hearing in December and the bibical text used as hateful. One can only think the judge in the case agreed since the case has gone forward instead of being thrown out. The words that millions of Americans live by and teach their children by are hateful because they clash morally with what gay individuals believe.

The same sort of people who supposedly extol tolerance are not tolerant to those who hold other viewpoints. One cannot express this enough. I have never been a fan of the far Christian right, and never thought to see myself being a cheerleader for those inside that group. That said, it is important to understand something. This case is not about what views this group of people hold, it is about the law. The Constitution allows for those who term themselves gay to hold a "party" on the street, it does not guarantee they have the right to have everyone agree with them. Those who were preaching do not have the right to have everyone agree with them either. They do however have the same rights as the gay Outfest party goers. And that is the right to freely assemble and express their beliefs.

The defendents in this case were on the sidewalk, no obstruction was taking place until they were surrounded by some 500 people who disagreed with them and their presence. The defendents were not physically attacking anyone, they were not calling for American citizens to murder the participants of the street gathering. They were not calling for new laws that would have homosexuals rounded up and placed into concentration camps.

How is it that protesters can show up at the Presidental "street party" and be loud, crass, carry banners and signs with slogans on them, throw snowballs at the Presidental vehicle and fight with police but all that is supposed to be ok yet eleven not hundreds show up at a gay pride "street party" with a bullhorn used to cite bibical text and banners with the same are not? The liberals should not be given a pass on this. They don't get to have it both ways.

There is a correct belief that my morality or other Christians morality do not belong in other people's bedrooms. I have no qualms with that. It is my belief that other people morals are between them and God, as long as it does not involve harming another individual or break the law and I am not talking about morality laws that involve two consenting adult individuals here. I believe people have a the right to privacy enshirned into law in this country. However, as soon as you take that private behavior into the public sphere you lose the right to not have your behavior commented on or even protested. Keep your pieces parts out of public view and then you don't run the risk of those hateful Christians protesting your display of those pieces parts and what you do with them. Want me to be respectful of your lifestyle? Then be respectful of mine. Once upon a time that was called good manners.

As long as those on the liberal divide of the political spectrum are willing to shove their "lifestyle" in the faces of those who do not wish to have it placed into their faces, then expect the private lifestyle of those who oppose to be on display as well.



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